The Weekly Wonk November 2, 2014

the_weekly_wonkThe Weekly Wonk is a summary of Oklahoma Policy Institute’s events, publications, blog posts, and coverage. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The KnowClick here to subscribe to In The Know.

As Oklahoma voters get ready to go to the polls on Tuesday, our 2014 Elections page provides you all the information you need on voting times, state questions, judicial elections, and more.

This week on the OK Policy blog, we ran a series of guest posts as part of our “Broken Democracy” project. Dr. Randal Buriss offered several ideas for improving representative democracy in Oklahoma; University of Tulsa student Nikki Hager looked at what could be done to boost voter turnout among the millennial generation, and Ryan Kiesel made the case for multi-member electoral districts as a way to give Oklahoma voters more and better electoral choices.  Meanwhile, David Blatt’s Journal Record column discussed what’s behind the decline in voting among Oklahomans. You can find more discussion of Oklahoma’s broken democracy here.

Also on our blog, Steve Lewis’ weekly Capitol Update discusses a recent legislative study on how to cover Oklahoma’s uninsured. An article in the Daily Ardmorite about the legislative study cites OK Policy’s recent issue brief shows how the track record of Medicaid expansion in other states shows why it would be a good deal for Oklahoma. Our health care data is also cited in a Muskoee Pheoeix article about the candidates for Senate District 8. In our Editorial of the Week, The Oklahoman Editorial Board argued that lawmakers can’t be ‘tough on crime’ if they aren’t fully funding corrections.

Next Monday, November 10th, OK Policy will host Dr. Lawrence R. Jacobs, a leading national expert on health care policy, for his lunchtime talk, “The 2014 Elections and the Future of Health Reform,” at the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. There are just a few days left to purchase tickets, which are $15 and include a full meal.

Quote of the Week

“In the last 16 years, only three initiative petitions qualified for the statewide ballot. Every other state question reached the ballot via action by the state’s elected powers that be – the Legislature. This begs the question: Is it too difficult – nigh on impossible, really – for rank-and-file Oklahomans to take matters into their own hands when they can’t get lawmakers to act?”

-Journal Record columnist Arnold Hamilton (Source:

See prior Quotes of the Day here

Numbers of the Day

  • 22% – Graduation success rate of Oklahoma State University men’s basketball players who enrolled in 2007, the lowest in the Big 12

  • 260 – The number of Atmospheric and Space Scientists who worked in Oklahoma in 2013.

  • 1,900 –The number of Oklahomans with physical or mental disabilities who obtained gainful employment through services provided by the Department of Rehabilitation Services in 2013.

  • 87 percent – The percentage of Oklahomans who acknowledge that the climate is changing; 72 percent believe past warming has been caused by humans.

See prior Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading




Former Executive Director David Blatt joined OK Policy in 2008 and served as its Executive Director from 2010 to 2019. He previously served as Director of Public Policy for Community Action Project of Tulsa County and as a budget analyst for the Oklahoma State Senate. He has a Ph.D. in political science from Cornell University and a B.A. from the University of Alberta. David has been selected as Political Scientist of the Year by the Oklahoma Political Science Association, Local Social Justice Champion by the Dan Allen Center for Social Justice, and Public Citizen of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers.

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